Mayor Ed Lee Finally Breaks Silence on Medical Marijuana

thank-you-sf.jpg
And San Francisco thanks you, Mr. Mayor
"If you get Ed Lee on record about medical marijuana," more than one well-connected San Francisco politico has told us, "you deserve a medal."

Our best efforts were all deflected, including a situation when we physically blocked Mayor Lee's path to his hybrid Mayoralmobile and still did not win a comment. So accolades are due to Americans for Safe Access, which circulated a three-paragraph statement released by Mayor Ed Lee's office on Friday.

The mayor has stood silent while the federal Justice Department shut down five city-licensed dispensaries and while San Francisco's health department paused and unpaused its licensing program, so the words from Lee -- one of the lone members of the city family absent from an April 3 pro-marijuana rally on the City Hall steps -- have been a long time coming.

Firebrand it isn't. The strongest words are "important", "concerned", and "agree," and no action of any kind is promised or even recommended. But that such a tepid statement would be so welcomed is a signal of how lukewarm our mustachioed mayor has been on marijuana -- and how delicate the former city administrator's relationship is with the medical marijuana movement.

It's unclear why Lee took his time to sound off. Medical marijuana isn't exactly controversial in San Francisco: The city had dispensaries long before the 1996 Compassionate Use Act passed. It was also one of first cities in California to license dispensaries -- a program that began in 2005. In contrast, Lee's predecessor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, was loud and proud in his support for medical cannabis.

In 2007, Newsom once went as far as to write a letter to Congress decrying raids. Advocates have asked Mayor Lee to similarly use his bully pulpit to ask San Francisco's Congressional delegation -- like Sen. Dianne Feinstein, herself a former mayor, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi -- to step in and find out why President Barack Obama is shutting down taxpaying cannabis dispensaries that are legal in both the city and the state, but still violate the federal Controlled Substances Act.

To date, Lee has not done that (not as far as we know; the Mayor's press office did not respond to a request seeking an answer to that question). Nor has he done any of the actions demanded/begged by Americans for Safe Access and the coalition of marijuana activists and dispensaries called San Francisco United, such as joining in on the petition to reschedule marijuana, joining in on ASA's lawsuit against the Justice Department, or taking steps to make it easier for shuttered dispensaries that obeyed all local laws to be reopened.

Instead, in a statement not released to the press, Lee expressed his concern, and cited no fewer than three reasons as to why he is "concerned" and why medical pot is "legitimate."

"It is important that San Franciscans who need medicinal cannabis can have safe access to it - there are oncology patients, HIV/AIDS patients, and people with debilitating pain who rely on this medicine to treat their conditions. Public Health Director Barbara Garcia continually advises me that legitimate use by people with certain medical conditions is an effective way to treat pain and ease end-of-life suffering.

And since 1996, when Proposition 215 first passed, the State of California and our City have reaffirmed many times over our support of legitimate medicinal use for people with serious illness. That's why I am concerned about recent federal actions targeting duly permitted Medicinal Cannabis Dispensaries, actions that aim to limit our citizens' ability to have safe access to the medicine they need.

Time and time again, the President of the United States has made it clear that the Justice Department has more important priorities than working to prevent patients from accessing this medicine. As long as San Francisco's dispensaries and patients are operating within the guidelines set by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown in 2008, I agree with our current Attorney General Kamala Harris that raids should not occur. She has said that 'an overly broad federal enforcement campaign will make it more difficult for legitimate patients to access physician-recommended medicine in California.'"
And that was it. But "it was more than I thought we would get," said one dispensary operator, who added that activists sat on the floor outside Lee's office on Friday until the mayor's chief of staff, Steve Kawa, came out to see them.

"I'm glad Mayor Lee has taken a stand to support and protect safe access in San Francisco," said David Goldman, one of the core members of the San Francisco chapter of Americans for Safe Access.

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19 comments
P7allan
P7allan

Meher Baba, the Avatar of this age stated that taking drugs are HARMFUL physically, mentally and spiritually unless directed by a Medical Doctor; who knows the substance (it is presumed) and can regulate the effects of it under close guidance and through close supervision. Anyone taking such drugs with out medical reason and prescription is physically, mentally and spiritually harming themselves and thus harming all of us for we are all one planet, one soul, and can only progress as a family,neighbor, citizen and nation when we all are doing what needs to be done to protect the rights of everyone. Abuse is of no use to anyone, and any and all such drugs should only be used under a doctor's medical direction(s). Paul M.

tjpsf1
tjpsf1

Like Michael Jackson's doctor? Doctors don't always have the patients best interest in mind. Sometimes they think about the cruise the drug company sends them on for hawking their side effect riddled poison.

Elizabethfrantes
Elizabethfrantes

Most of the sick folks can't afford those inflated prices.  It's like saying you're in favor of access to abortion, and then passing laws so the prices was $50K.  Not a problem for the rich, but for those who really need the services, it's totally beyond reach.  This was intentional.  They want to pretend to have compassion and keep all the money from the clubs coming in .. . and no one will tell us how much they have collected and where it's going. 

bossanova
bossanova

Obama says the morally conservative Republicans started the drug warback in the old days but he intends tofinish it.

Gopal Rao
Gopal Rao

What exactly are those guidelines set forth by then Attorney General Brown in 2008?

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

Have you ever heard of Google search? If you go to www.google.com and enter:2008 attorney general medical marijuana guidelinesit will miraculously be revealed to you.

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

Everyone who doesn't take a stand against the drug war has blood on their hands.  Silence is deadly.

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

One day soon, Obama, Biden, and every single last one of the so called 'drug warriors' will all stand trial as drug war criminals.

* Colombia, Peru, Mexico or Afghanistan with their coca leaves, marijuana buds or poppy sap are not igniting temptation in the minds of our weak, innocent citizens. These countries are duly responding to the enormous demand that comes from within our own borders. Invading or destroying these countries, thus creating more hate, violence, instability, injustice and corruption, will not fix our problem.

* A rather large majority of people will always feel the need to use drugs such as heroin, opium, nicotine, amphetamines, alcohol, sugar, or caffeine.

* The massive majority of adults who use drugs do so recreationally - getting high at the weekend then up for work on a Monday morning. 

* Apart from the huge percentage of people addicted to both sugar and caffeine, a small minority of adults (nearly 5%) will always experience the use of drugs as problematic. - approx. 3% are dependent on alcohol and approx. 1.5% are dependent on other drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroine etc. 

* Just as it was impossible to prevent alcohol from being produced and used in the U.S. in the 1920s, so too, it is equally impossible to prevent any of the aforementioned drugs from being produced, distributed and widely used by those who desire to do so. 

* Prohibition kills more people and ruins more lives than the drugs it prohibits.

* Due to Prohibition (historically proven to be an utter failure at every level), the availability of most of these mood-altering drugs has become so universal and unfettered that in any city of the civilized world, any one of us would be able to procure practically any drug we wish within an hour.

* Throughout history, the prohibition of any mind-altering substance has always exploded usage rates, overcrowded jails, fueled organized crime, created rampant corruption of law-enforcement - even whole governments, while inducing an incalculable amount of suffering and death. 

* Apart from the fact that the DEA is the de facto enforcement wing of the pharmaceutical industry, the involvement of the CIA in running Heroin from Vietnam, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan, and Cocaine from Central America has been well documented by the 1989 Kerry Committee report, academic researchers Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott, and the late journalist Gary Webb.

* It's not even possible to keep drugs out of prisons, but prohibitionists wish to waste trillions of dollars in an utterly futile attempt to keep them off our streets.

* The United States jails a larger percentage of it's own citizens than any other country in the world, including those run by the worst totalitarian regimes, yet it has far higher use/addiction rates than most other countries.

* Prohibition is the "Goose that laid the golden egg" and the lifeblood of terrorists as well as drug cartels. Both the Taliban and the terrorists of al Qaeda derive their main income from the prohibition-inflated value of the opium poppy. An estimated 44 % of the heroin produced in Afghanistan, with an estimated annual destination value of US $ 27 Billion, transits through Pakistan. Prohibition has essentially destroyed Pakistan's legal economy and social fabric. We may be about to witness the planet's first civil war in a nation with nuclear capabilities. - Kindly Google 'A GLOBAL OVERVIEW OF NARCOTICS-FUNDED TERRORIST GROUPS' Only those opposed or willing to ignore these facts want things the way they are.

* The future depends on whether or not enough of us are willing to take a long look at the tragic results of prohibition. If we continue to skirt the primary issue while refusing to address the root problem then we can expect no other result than a worsening of the current dire situation. - Good intentions, wishful thinking and pseudoscience are no match for the immutable realities of human nature.

* Many important advancements in human society (even the reasonable requirement that gynecologists wash their hands before examining a patient) have been vehemently resisted by unconscionable, selfish individuals who were willing to use outright mendacity, specious logic and fear mongering to sacrifice the well-being of the rest of us.

Never have so many been endangered and impoverished by so few so quickly!

* The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American editor, essayist and philologist.

Mr Pandora
Mr Pandora

You really nailed it, hope you run for office.

Jason Grant Garza
Jason Grant Garza

Jason Grant Garza ... these words coming from a MAYOR who said he would NOT run for OFFICE ... what does it mean? Do his words and inaction mean anything ? Why as a matter of fact his " Steward at the MINISTRY of HEALTH CARE - Barbara Garcia" was found guilt of a SUNSHINE VIOLATION on 4.4.2012 (6721e) "Not appearing as a KNOWLEDGEABLE" representative in case # 11099 after I sunshined them for "WHO ACCREDITS" them. This is in response to case # 10038 and # 11081 where I have been continually denied my OWN MEDICAL RECORDS ... so I would NOT put much if any faith in Barbara Garcia ... nor the ETHICS commission finding her guilty of "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT' since when the exact same thing happened in case# 10038 that was referred to ETHICS ... you know the drill ... nothing, zip, nada came of it ... unless you count the lack of consequence, penalty just reinforced the "MORAL HAZARD."

Words are MEANINGLESS ... or as George Orwell would say: Telling the TRUTH during times of UNIVERSAL DECEIT is a REVOLUTIONARY ACT.  Call and ask BARBARA GARCIA at 554-2525 about me and case # 11099 ... note ( await the SPIN.)

Sciencefreak
Sciencefreak

Why hasn't Kamala Harris called Obama and told him in no uncertain terms to lay off because we do not want to send cancer and AIDS and pain patients into the dealers' dens to try and get medical marijuana? Why, because she is another slime ball political sleaze bag who cares nothing about people but is consumed with accumulating more and more power to compensate for her deep sense of inadequacy as a human being. More people voted to legalize marijuana than voted for this empty skirt. She should read the book "Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease" to come up to date on the science that proves marijuana protects human health.

Elizabethfrantes
Elizabethfrantes

One more time, the VAST MAJORITY OF INDIGENT PATIENTS CAN'T AFFORD THESE PRICES . .. AND ONLY A VERY TINY% OF INDIGENT GET "COMPASSION" WEED BECAUSE THE POLITICIANS MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO STAY OPEN BECAUSE OF ALL THE PAYOFFS. 

Eugenia WhoDat Polos
Eugenia WhoDat Polos

lukewarm, but it is better than his silence and his no show at the rally...

BetterAmerica
BetterAmerica

How in the world does America have people selling marijuana openly at $400 ounce, with advertisements no less, while putting other Americans in prison, ruining their lives, families, and happiness, forever branding them felons and drug dealers. Meanwhile our noble and overpaid medical industry has hooked more Americans on opiates and children on amphetamines than all the "so called" illegal drug dealers combined. What a lousy bunch of hypocritical, pathological liars we have for politicians... guzzling and allowing booze everywhere while overseeing the decline of our nation.

This is not rhetoric, look around, the evidence is all around you. Our politicians are mostly rich, greedy, hypocritical, pathological liars who care far more about their power/wealth than this nation. If our best & brightest do not have a change in mentality and morality so they start helping the less fortunate, rather than mindlessly looting and hoarding money not even enjoyed... there is no hope. Why? It "is" our best & brightest running this nation, and always has been that way. To this day I see no evidence of poor and Muslims running American into the ground... just our best & brightest chasing the wrong goals in life... hoarding wealth to prove their worth to peers.

Elizabethfrantes
Elizabethfrantes

Uh, ask Nancy Pelosi, Babs "PunchDrunk" boxer, and SenateWhore FineSwine why they refuse to even bring up the topic . .they have sold out to the antiaborts but won't even talk about this .. .and our "advocates" have to keep pot illegal to keep their gigs .. . and as long as the price is artificially inflated it keep the corruption level high.

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